Jonathan Packer ’11 virtually visits Hackley’s Independent Research Students

The Independent Research Program kicked off our 2020-2021 guest lecture series with the valedictorian the Jonathan Packer ‘11, PhD.

During the virtual visit, Dr. Packer told us about the work that he does at Foresite Labs, where he creates computational and statistical models to determine which diseases his company should pursue solutions for, and creates the necessary materials to pitch those ideas to their parent investment firm.  One student reflected, “I was fascinated by the idea of a medium phase of research. We often overlook the need for money in the process of drug development, and this middle phase bottleneck is something I never considered because of the fact that we have always been presented the sole end result of research.”  

Many students also found that his advice for having a broad skill-set (computer science, math, web-programming, biology) was vital.  “I found this important as expanding my skillset will not only help me now, but it will also become an asset for me in the future. It is such a simple and self-explanatory thing, however, it is the easiest thing to overlook,” remarked another student.  Thank you Dr. Packer for taking the time to visit our budding scientists!

All alumni/parents with present or past experiences in scientific research have a standing invitation to back and visit the Independent Research Program. Our future scientists love hearing your stories, and these talks are formative to their careers. If you are interested, please reach out to Dr. Andrew Ying (